Tan Renga – Basho’s “for the Star Festival” – May 30, 2015

long distance

Tanabata no awanu kokoro ya uchuten

for the Star Festival
even when hearts cannot meet

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

hands close to touching
lips infinite miles apart

she weaves her dreams
reflecting on her crow herder
awaiting his return

© G.s.k. 15


“On the seventh day of the seventh month, now celebrated on July 7, is Tanabata (“Star Festival”). This is the night once a year when the crow herder, the star Altair, crosses the Milky Way on a bridge of magpie wings to meet the weaver-girl, Vega, for a night of celestial love-making. On a summer night, considered by the Japanese as the beginning of autumn, in this hemisphere, these are the two brightest stars seen directly overhead. If it rains the lovers cannot meet. Traditionally, on this evening people gather for outdoor picnics. Children of all ages make wishes by writing them on strips of paper to be tied on bamboo bushes. The word uchuten is a compound word made by Basho incorporating “rain in the middle of heaven” and “ecstasy.””  Chèvrefeuille

Linked to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Tan Renga